The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Japanese Drama Database
Japanese Title: Honono Hito |Gohho Shoden|
English Title: The Ardent Soul: Legend of Vincent Van Gogh
Author: MIYOSHI, Juro
Author's Profile: Born in Saga Prefecture in 1902, MIYOSHI lost his father when he was 11 years old. He lived in Saga with his relatives and in school dormitories until he graduated high school in 1920. Two years later, he entered the Department of English Literature at Tokyo's Waseda University. He published his poems in the "Waseda Literature magazine" and also wrote and staged various proletariat plays, such as "Who will Fire Them?" and "Flawed Oak" in 1928 and "Coal Dust" in 1930. From 1935 to 1939, he was a member of the Arts and Culture section at the PCL Film Productions, and wrote scripts for films such as "Hikoroku Laughs Raucously," which was also staged in 1936 by director INOUE Masao. MIYOSHI's best known prewar work, "Floating Signal," was dramatized in 1940 by the New Tsukiji Theatre troupe; four years later, the Culture Theatre company staged his play "Oriki."
In the postwar years, he drew attention to postwar society and plumbed the depth of the human heart in plays such as "The Ruin" (1947), "The Unknown" (1948), "In the Womb" (1949), and "Taking Risks" (1952). He also wrote the play "The Ardent Soul: Legend of Vincent Van Gogh," drawing upon the life of the famous painter, and in 1952, he won the Yomiuri Literary Award for it. Famed playwrights, such as AKIMOTO Matsuyo, have debuted from Miyoshi's Drama Research group created in 1946. MIYOSHI Juro also wrote many radios and television dramas until his death in 1958.
First Performance:   1951
Performance time:  
Acts / Scenes: 5 acts and epilogue
Cast: 25 (17 men, 8 women)


This play is a critical biography that traces the life of the artist Vincent Van Gogh.



Act I: Van Gogh is at the mine of Wasmes, as a lay preacher. Poverty-stricken, the miners are going through a long-term strike. Yet such struggles of the miners, as well as Van Gogh's devotion for them, are not recompensed, and the miners must return to their hard work.
Act II: Van Gogh has lost his faith in God. At his atelier in Hague, he is painting a picture of his lover Sien, when he receives a visit from his cousin Anton Mauve, his mentor as well as his benefactor. Mauve torments him by brutally criticizing his art, and Van Gogh loses his confidence as an artist. Theo, his younger brother and only lifelong appreciator of his art, visits, but Van Gogh does not listen to his consolation and attempts to destroy his painting.

Act III: Van Gogh is in Paris, enjoying his life as an artist inspired by many impressionist painters. Yet the reality of not being accepted as an artist becomes a burden, and his mental state gradually deteriotates.

Act IV: At the eYellow House' in Arles, he enjoys a period of artistic activity and excitement with Gauguin, for whom he has great respect. This is a time when Van Gogh's talent as an artist blooms like a sunflower without his own awareness. But spending his days with another genius has a disturbing effect on his mental state and their exchange becomes stormy.

Act V: Van Gogh returns to the eYellow House' to apologize for his misbehavior the day before, only to find Gauguin having an affair with Sien. Van Gogh's heartrending monologue is presented from a broadcasting system situated at the rear of the auditorium and his voice envelopes and draws the audience into his delusionary state. That same evening, in a state of psychosis, Van Gogh attempts to cut his ears using a sharp knife.

Epilogue: Confined to a mental asylum, Van Gogh still tries to paint. The remainder of his life is told in recitation. By overlapping the story of his life with those of many unknown artists, the rendition conveys a sense of the agony and ecstasy of the artistic life.
TOP